I love America. I think black Americans are the most loyal of all Americans. As a group, we’ve been beaten, lynched, raped, disenfranchised, denied our rights as citizens, unjustly incarcerated, marginalized socially and economically more than any other ethnic group in this country and of course, cruelly murdered like animals by the very police whose duty is to protect us. And yet we’ve fought bravely in every war America has fought in since it’s founding when the time came to defend America. Contrary to and in spite of the stereotype we’ve been saddled with, we are among the most law biding citizens in America. However, it is precisely because of the injustices that we must cope with pretty much every day of our lives, that you generally don’t see us enthusiastically extolling all the virtues of America, and overtly expressing our love of country the way our white fellow countrymen do. Make no mistake, it is not for lack of love of country that we are more subdued in our expression of love, but because we have been thrust into the role as keeper of America’s conscience. We more than other group understand the essence of what the founders meant for this country to be, even though in their time, many of them did not consider Africans to be human. Never the less, the essence of their beliefs apply to all of humanity and our role historically has been to hold the country’s feet to the fire in terms of insisting that we truly live up to the greatness that the founders envisioned for us. True power is the ability to inspire others to want to live by your traditions and beliefs – adopting your mores out of a desire to live up to the examples you set. Inauthentic power is the ability to coerce others into following you through fear and intimidation. Inauthentic power is a short-term phenomenon. It will eventually collapse in on itself.
I think I understand why so many white Americans have given up on democracy. I believe a large part of the reason we are tearing ourselves apart is because the perception of what it means to be an immigrant has changed drastically over the past 50 or 60 years. Back in the 1950s, people came to America because they wanted to be American. They wanted dress like Americans, talk like Americans and act like Americans. Beginning in the 1970s, perception began to shift. In today’s world it seems to many Americans that the modern immigrant is more interested in reshaping America’s culture and traditions to look like the immigrant’s native culture and traditions. It appears to them that the immigrant has no interest in adopting American culture and traditions. In the minds of many white Americans, it appears the immigrant wants America to make accommodations for their language (for example, healthcare providers are technically compelled to have interpreters for every language on Earth), their religion (for example, we are expected to tolerate head and face covering of women from certain religions even though typically masks are frowned on and suggest deviant or illegal intention in our culture. Of course, all that has changed with COVID-19) and their culture (we are expected to know what offends every culture on Earth). America has never been confronted with so many people whose cultural norms seem to be in direct opposition to American cultural norms. All this is further complicated by America’s antebellum past, which fosters the belief that Caucasians are genetically superior to every other racial group on Earth. This is where much of America’s resentment is coming from.
As a nation, we have made fundamental decisions that have resulted in economic disaster for the United States and the entire western hemisphere. At least 50 years ago, America decided rather than remove the economic barriers preventing mostly inner city black people from assimilating into mainstream America, it was decided to allow illegal addictive drugs to inundate those communities and criminalize the addiction, trafficking and petty thievery it produced and privatizing the correctional system to allow large corporations to profit from the devastation and misery in those communities, and by so doing, destroyed a generation of young black men. The insatiable greed of those same corporations has led to the wrecked economy that has enabled the death and destruction to spread out of the inner cities into mainstream America. The commerce of this immoral trade, which completely corrupts everyone involved in it, including the so called law enforcement, continues to suck the sole right out of America and has empowered the drug cartels and gangs that are terrorizing the peaceful, hard working people of Central America, which is causing the border crisis that is tearing the country apart and leading us to abandon democracy in favor of fascism.
This nation is six months away from either reestablishing democratic norms or fully committing to a fascist dictatorship. Our only hope for choosing the former over the latter alternative is that enough white Americans first own their tendency to believe what American culture has conditioned them to believe almost from birth, the idea that their ethnic group is somehow closer to God, and more in God’s image than all other groups. Once owning it, they must then let it go, like a favorite pair of shoes that has been worn out, or no longer fits. All of America’s problems can be solved, if we are united in our commitment to solve them. That level of commitment is only possible under a democratic system. A democracy demands compromise, which can only come out of mutual respect. Our failure to be able to see ourselves in the eyes of people who look superficially different from us is the barrier that has been preventing us from solving our problems and successfully moving forward. America traditionally has been the place where the idea that equality of human value is humanity’s best hope of obtaining prosperity and peace for the entire human race. So far, America has only completely been able to do this for ethnic Europeans. When the average white American can do the same at least for all Americans of color who have fully adopted the American way of life, it will be a step in the right direction for us holding on to American democaracy.
So when you see a person of color, particularly a black person, not displaying his flag on memorial day or the forth of July, or taking a knee during the national anthem, consider that he has an additional role to play as an American and as such, doesn’t have the luxury of enthusiastically embracing his American heritage. He has the added burden of reminding America that it has much to do before becoming the true embodiment of its credo, and by accepting that responsibility, holds himself out to the scorn and ridicule from mainstream America. And yet, he continues to sacrifice himself on the alter of public approval to remind us of who we really are and what we truly stand for. He must be the reminder of what frequently is an inconvenient truth about how we are behaving verses how we should be behaving towards each other. But underneath his seemingly rebellious and at times, seemingly disrespectful behavior is a broken, but still beating, heart that is crying out, “I Am An American and I LOVE AMERICA”.